This year's National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC), has been launched in Koforidua with a call on all Africans in the diaspora to come and witness the beautiful Ghanaian culture.
The event, slated for November 8 to 15, would be held on the theme: "Empowering the youth through culture, creative arts and wealth creation."
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Dr Siblim Barri Iddi, who launched the event, indicated that the purpose for NAFAC was to among other things, create enabling platforms for stakeholders, industry players, communities and government to dialogue on diverse ways that can be employed to remedy the high rate of youth unemployment in the country.
He said that government had over the past years, put measures in place to create more jobs for the teeming youth, adding that the creative arts industry provided another opportunity to serve as a source of direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Dr Barri stated that the creative arts industry, particularly tourism, hospitality and music, had made immense contribution to the socio-cultural and economic growth of the country.
In a speech read for him, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, said NAFAC was a cultural legacy which sought to promote traditional values and bring together traditional authorities and people from different cultural backgrounds in the country to celebrate and express harmony.
He said the many tourist attractions such as the Boti Falls, the Kwahu Paragliding site, the Akosombo Dam and the Bunso Canopy Walkway offered the Eastern Region a unique opportunity to display the rich culture and values to the rest of the world.
Mr Darfour whose speech was read by his deputy, Mr Samuel Nuerty Aryetey, indicated that there were potentials and opportunities for youth employment in tourism, creative arts and culture, an industry which must be harnessed for the socio-economic development of the country.
He said the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council was optimistic that by the end of the festival, the youth would turn their focus from the seemingly non-existence white collar jobs to the tourism and creative arts industry by harnessing the potential to turn fortunes around.
The Executive Director of National Commission on Culture, Ms Janet Edna Nyame said NAFAC for five decades now, had been a flagship programme of the commission, the sector ministry and key stakeholder institutions and departments, adding that this year's promised to be unique as it has coincided with the Year of Return.
For his part, the Krontihene of New Juaben Traditional Council, Baafour Nyantekyi Tutu Boateng called for the need to transform the creative arts industry into a more business-oriented sector to facilitate development.